Totally delish! Smoked chickpea tacos with avocado and homemade pickled onions for Taco Tuesday or any day, loaded with vegetables, spice and protein-filled chickpeas.
Smoky chickpeas tacos packed with vegetables and spice — they’re quick, full of nourishing flavor and so tasty!
The smashed chickpeas in these soft tacos get their robust flavor from smoked paprika — or pimenton — a type of ground pepper essential to Spanish cooking.
What is smoked paprika?
Smoked paprika, or pimenton, is similar to Hungarian-style paprika.
Instead of air-dried red peppers, pimenton is made with ground peppers that have been smoked over a wood fire.
You can taste the distinctive earthy flavor of pimenton in many traditional foods like chorizo and paella.
I love to cook with smoked paprika, and make my own spice blends to season barbecued meat and in dishes like this Chorizo-Spiced Chicken Chili.
As a vegetarian main dish, these meatless tacos are totally satisfying.
I think the smoky seasoning on the chickpeas makes a great stand-in for grilled meat, and besides being delicious, chickpeas are full of excellent plant protein.
The pickled red onions in this recipe really add a spark of flavor, and you can make them a day or two ahead.
You’ll end up with more than you need for these tacos, but trust me, you’ll find yourself sneaking some on just about everything!
Smoky Chickpea Tacos with Avocado and Pickled Onion
- 1 teaspoon kosher salt
- 1 teaspoon sugar
- ¼ cup (60 ml) white wine vinegar
- 1 red onion, halved and thinly sliced
- 2 tablespoons (30 ml) extra-virgin olive oil
- 1 garlic clove, finely chopped
- 1 small jalapeno pepper, finely chopped
- 2 teaspoons smoked paprika
- 1 15-ounce (425 g) can chickpeas or 1 1/2 cups cooked chickpeas, drained
- 6 corn tortillas
- Lettuce leaves or baby greens
- Fresh cilantro leaves
- 1 avocado, pitted and sliced
- 4 ounces (115 g) crumbled feta or goat cheese
- ½ English or Persian cucumber, thinly sliced
- 1-2 limes, sliced into quarters
Make the pickled onion
- Dissolve the salt and sugar with the vinegar in a bowl or large Mason jar. Add the onion and toss around to coat. Let stand 15 minutes to soften.
- Heat the olive oil in a sauté pan over medium heat. Cook the jalapeno, garlic and a pinch of salt a few minutes until softened and fragrant. Stir in the paprika and stir 30 seconds, then add the chickpeas and ¼ cup water. Cover and simmer 5 minutes.
- Remove from the heat and mash the chickpeas coarsely with a potato masher or wooden spoon. Taste the chickpeas and season with more salt if needed.
- Heat the tortillas directly over a medium gas flame on the stovetop until lightly browned, about 30 seconds per side (use a pair of tongs). Stack on a plate and cover with a towel to keep warm. If you don't have a gas stove, heat the tortillas one by one in a small heavy skillet over medium-high heat.
- Make each taco with some of the the chickpeas, lettuce, cilantro, avocado, onion, cheese and cucumber. Squeeze lime juice over each taco and serve.
- The chickpea filling makes enough for about 6 soft tacos. If you're feeding a crowd, double the recipe.
- Omit the cheese to make vegan tacos.